Sunday, 13 August 2017

Dipping my Toes into Etching

Hello August, just 2 short years ago I was blogging about the 50 things I did before 50! No big list this year though just a quiet afternoon tea with family to look forward to later on today.

So this month I have been dipping my toes into etching, combining my artwork with copper to see how it works.  I researched all the options and with hubbys advice opted to try Ferric Chloride for which is also used for making pinted circuit boards. 

The first thing I did was to sketch a few pictures on my i-pad that I thought would work, this are two of them

I transferred these images to my scan n cut maching and cut them from vinyl.  There are lots of options to choose from for a 'resist' but so far I have only tried vinyl and sharpie pens. Vinyl worked the best for me out of those two, next on list to try is nail varnish.

Next I prepared the copper by cutting into small rectangles and cleaning with sandpaper, a nylon pad and then a wipe over with neat alcohol to make sure the surface was squeeky clean for the vinyl to stick properly.

Stick the vinyl to the copper and make sure it is well adhered with no edges lifted, you can fill in any missing bits with a sharpie pen

Before putting the copper into the chemicals you need to protect all of the bits you don't want etched by accident including around the sides of the work and the back.  I coloured around the edges with the sharpie marker and stuck the copper onto some packing tape to protect the back so the only bits of metal exposed were the bits I wanted etched (sorry I forgot to take a picture of that!)

I pre-prepared two plastic containers for the etch one with the Ferric Chloride which I bought ready diluted and one with Bicarbonate of Soda and water to use as a neutraliser to the acid, some gloves which are essential to protect your skin and I put all this on a tray and had plenty of paper towels on standby as it it messy!

Then I gently lowered the pieces into the Ferric Chloride and left them, I checked every half hour for progress, as the copper I used was pretty thin I only left them until the pattern was just visible, thicker materials will take longer.

Once you are happy with the etch take the pieces out wearing gloves I also used non metal tweezers and put the piece into the bicarbonate of soda solution to neutralise.  I gave them a final rinse in clean water then you can peel away the packing tape and vinyl.

Next step was to clean, I used a nylon pad to scrub then some ultra fine sandpaper to lightly polish. For the Unicorn I rounded the edges and added a rivet and turned it into a key ring.


The hare became a pendant with an added moonstone

So whats next, well I just ordered some thicker copper to try a few more designs and also some Ferric Nitrite to etch some silver, will blog about that when I have given it a go.  I hope you enjoyed my little foray into etching and pop back again to see what I get up to next. 

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